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Times Crossword 24382

Solving time: 16.59

Not expecting any medals for this time. I was held up in quite a few places by unfamiliar words or phrases and had to rely on wordplay, which was fortunately unambiguous. I didn't get any of the long multi-word answers at 1, 7 and 26 for a good while, though I correctly pencilled in the "THE" in all three of them, which proved to be more helpful than I probably deserved. Last to go in were the 21/22 pair in the SW corner.

GO FOR THE BURN - not a phrase I'd heard of, and I needed both the B and the R before I was able to work out what I could possibly be going for.
BALD,RIC - BALD=plain, and RIC(e) is cereal short of energy. Before I met this clue I had no idea that a baldric(k) was a warrior's belt or sash for supporting a sword.
PO-FACED - DECAF OP, all backwards.
VALET,TA - the capital of Malta.
SEA L(EG)S - E.G.=say. A very precise definition, completely useless to me for quite some time because, with an S at the start and the end, I was thinking that "on board" referred to the SS device that's used in this way.
G,AR,ROTTED = G=start of Great, (w)AR= War (leaving wife), ROTTED = went off.
EMBRACERY, being an anagram of B (leader of bar) + "my career". Embracery is the attempted corruption of jurors, making three definitions I had to look up already, and we're barely halfway through the acrosses.
ALUM(I)NA - yet another word I didn't really know, though it was obviously right when I got to it, which I did after staring at A_U_I__ until ALUMNA eventually popped into my head. "Alumina" is one of several names for the abrasive material aluminium oxide.
LOO,K O,UT - There is usually a clue whose wordplay defeats me until I'm all but finished blogging, and this one was this week's culprit. It's LOO=ladies (lavatory), K.O = floor (knock out) and UT is "just" with the odd letters missing. I knew about the UT, but kept trying to do the same thing (remove odd letters) to "floor", which did yield the LO but left the obviously impossible OKO.
T(W)ITTER - hmm, I suspect this isn't the last time we're going to see TWITTER clued this way. (Although - in ten years' time will it be largely forgotten that in 2009 we used to tweet?)
THE RED PLANET, a nickname for Mars, and therefore not our world. I was stuck at THE RED for much too long.
GAL,I,LEE, GAL(e) being endless wind. A galilee is a porch or chapel at the west end of a church - another one I got entirely from the wordplay.
FO(R)STER, a reference to E. M. Forster.
HOP,E,S, East and South being opponents in the game of bridge.
RI,CHEST (RI = Rhode Island)
ABOVE THE SALT - to be seated above the salt cellar was a sign of high social class, while in another sense if you are above the salt you are over the sea.
DI(SAD(VAN)TAG)E - till I put this together I thought that "fail" was the definition, but the definition is "cost" - DIE=fail, SAD=blue, VAN=vehicle and TAG=label, with "secure" and "covers" indicating two levels of containment.
ROYAL M(AI)L - the road is the A1, inside (morally)*. If the recent strikes had involved picket lines this clue might have been damn near perfect. (Did they? I didn't notice...)
BRUTISH - "British" with one letter changed, although actually since "one" in a clue can mean I, it's probably meant as a specific instruction to change the I.
AVI,A,TOR - "no end keen" being AVI(d).
PRONOUN - "I" is a pronoun, and so the definition (adding a comma for clarity) is "I, say". The wordplay requires CEMENT to be removed from PRONOUNCEMENT (a statement), to make it not binding. Which I thought was rather clever.
Z,IONIST - Z-unknown, IONIST = (is into)*.
AI,RED, with A1, a road in a previous clue, this time in the sense of fine, first-rate. Even after spotting RED I still needed the A from ALUMINA before I could finish this one.


( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 13th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Nice clear blog. I wonder a bit about 22D: AIRED=dry? -- do the parts of speech match? Does word replacement work: "it's dry" == "it's aired"?
Nov. 13th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC)
Considering I spent some eight hours on the A1 yesterday I took far to long to spot its appearance...

ilanc, clothes or beds that have been aired are consequently dry.

Nov. 13th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
I do give you a medal for 16:59....
....considering I took over an hour. But I did solve it, and that is the important thing.

This was a high-quality puzzle, and the clues were clever. There were also several things I didn't know: Galilee, po-faced, embracery. At least the cryptics for those were pretty direct.

The cryptics for 'look out', 'alumina', and 'pronoun', however, were truly diabolical. Even 'disadvantage' took a bit of thinking.

If they had put this one in the final at Cheltenham, it would not have been out of place.
Nov. 13th, 2009 07:48 am (UTC)
40 minutes with one cheat at the end (17dn) where my failure to find a word that fitted A?U?I?A began to raise doubts in my mind that 17dn was BRUTISH rather than BRITISH so I decided enough was enough.

I took 4 minutes to find my first answer but after that progress was steady and I enjoyed this one.

Never heard of GO FOR THE BURN. According to Brewers this derives from the world of sport, physical training etc which would account for my ignorance of the expression.

Also new to me were EMBRACERY, ALUMINA and the meaning of GALILEE required here. I was vaguely aware of BALDRIC being some garment or accessory of old that the character in "Blackadder" was named after.

I forgot to go back to LOOK OUT to see if I could understand the wordplay.

Nice to see one of my favourite writers at 2dn after some of the obscure ones we have had recently.
Nov. 13th, 2009 09:09 am (UTC)
12:47 with one mistake - at 7D I imagined that "over seas" might describe "above the mast", an imagined but non-existent description of someone in nautical command. (Ironically, ABOVE THE SALT could mean much the same!) 12, 23 and 19 went in without wordplay understanding. Knew baldric precisely, embracery as some kind of crime, but not alumina = an abrasive. "Go for the burn" just about rang a bell - presumably the same as "eyeballs out" in my fitter days.

Edited at 2009-11-13 11:10 am (UTC)
Nov. 13th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
At least I'm in good company then! I also had ABOVE THE MAST, "remembering" the phrase from somewhere. Time 18:49, but about 5 minutes trying to sort out that SW corner. ALUMINA, AIRED, AVIATOR and TWITTER were the last four to go in before I finally wrote in MAST.
(no subject) - glheard - Nov. 13th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 13th, 2009 09:15 am (UTC)
Another easy one today, though good. Familiar with "go for the burn" though more from the gym than from running; never heard of embracery, fortunately could see no real alternative..
Nov. 13th, 2009 09:22 am (UTC)
Didnt find it easy at all in parts this time top left (NW) and having put British instead of brutish it took me an age to see that it was brutish and then Alumina slotted into place. took ages to see Galilee and Forster because i too didnt know immendiately that Baldric was a sash for a sword...but I do now...must say also that Go for the burn is a phrase used in running/cross country but neither of those is my strong suit..did lots in 25 minutes but then took another 35 to sort out the problem ones!
frustrating but satisfying eventually!
Nov. 13th, 2009 09:23 am (UTC)
A long sruggle with 2 wrong finally. I went for SEA NETS at 12, thinking it was vaguely balance related (obviously couldn't be bothered reading the rest of the clue) and ABOVE THE MAST at 7, arguing if there was a "before the mast", there had to be a behind, above and below as well, although some part of my brain was saying "it's salt, you idiot" as I wrote it in. Ironically GO FOR THE BURN was my first in. As for galilee, embracery & baldric, I didn't have much of a clue, but got there in the end. COD to DISADVANTAGE, which should not be taken as an endorsement of recursive inclusion in general.
Nov. 13th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
I too fell for SEA NETS at 12, Koro, and toyed with ABOVE THE MAST at 7 before hitting on the right solution. My cryptic parsing of 12 was, I thought, quite ingenious: NET (=balance) inside (indicated by "on") SEA S, which when spoken (indicated by "say") sounds like "seize", which could be a synonym for "board" in the sense of "to board a ship". Unfortunately that leaves "accepted by" as redundant, so I fear we can't claim this as an alternative correct solution.
Nov. 13th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC)
I did like this - not as fast as yesterday's but after about 5 mins (the top half went in like lightning) only the pairs 21 & 18, 19 & 25 remained. It was only 10 mins later that all the pennies had finally dropped.
Nov. 13th, 2009 09:40 am (UTC)
Does anyone ever get the cryptic part of a clue such as 19d first, in order to arrive at the answer, or are we merely expected to locate the definition, pick a possible, and then grin at the sheer complexity of the construction?

I have to say I put it in without knowing the reason, and it was only coming on here that enlightened me.
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:15 am (UTC)
At the risk of banging on and boring people to death if you do the bar crosswords like Mephisto you have to derive the answer from convoluted wordplay because the answer is a totally obscure word that you then have to verify by using Chambers. So the answer to your question is yes and the process helps to train your mind to break up clues into definition and wordplay.
(no subject) - petebiddlecombe - Nov. 13th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vinyl1 - Nov. 13th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - petebiddlecombe - Nov. 13th, 2009 12:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:24 am (UTC)
Much the same experience as most others. 30 minutes to solve. A number of unknown phrases and obscure meanings but all derivable. I knew about the salt so wasn't tempted by "mast" but not about the "burn" but B?R? as a synonym for "stream" was easy.

We have a definition by example at son=heir. As predicted the original occasional use of the device is turning into burn. I liked ROYAL MAIL - excellent clue.
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC)
{son => HEIR} is definition by example, but this is hinted at by the question mark, so I believe this clue would have been accepted by previous xwd eds Brian Greer or Mike Laws, as well as Richard Browne with his revised rules about this.
(no subject) - dorsetjimbo - Nov. 13th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
It is not even definition by example! - vinyl1 - Nov. 13th, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It is not even definition by example! - dorsetjimbo - Nov. 13th, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It is not even definition by example! - kororareka - Nov. 13th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:28 am (UTC)
Yet another formidable blog from Sabine. His/her blogs are always like reliving nightmares with every grisly detail.
Finished with guesses for AVIATOR, BALDRIC, FORSTER and LOOK OUT. On the latter which once the checkers are in could not be anything else I wonder why the wordplay is so complex. Seems like a waste of effort.
2 wrong alas, SEA NETS for SEA LEGS (smack on wrist for this) and ABOVE THE MAST (my vague recollection on subsequent research turns out to be Two Years BEFORE the Mast, a novel by Richard Henry Dana Jr. which I think was on my bookshelf as a boy).
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
I meant to say that there were many marvellous clues here, so my thanks to setter. In particular I liked VALETTA, PIZZA, TWITTER and PRONOUN (at least once I figured that I needed CEMENT for binding, not just CE), my favourites probably reflecting my frivolous nature.
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
Enjoyed this puzzle, 27 mins, good variety. COD ADORING. Less familiar entries given easier wordplay which was good as others have noted.
Nov. 13th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
Add me to the above the mast club. Quite disappointing when I managed to untangle the wordplay for other unknown words such as galilee and embracery.

This brings an end to a run of 10 all-correct solutions for me. I only mention this because I wish to promote the Silver Solver index as an alternative performance measure for solvers of more mature years who cannot compete with the younger speed merchants. So, that’s an SS10 for me today
Nov. 13th, 2009 12:40 pm (UTC)
Solvers of all ages should be aiming for accuracy before worrying about speed. In the competitive situations where speed actually matters, accuracy counts too!
Neatness counts - colonialboy - Nov. 13th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
But what puzzles do we count? - vinyl1 - Nov. 13th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: But what puzzles do we count? - petebiddlecombe - Nov. 13th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: But what puzzles do we count? - lennyco - Nov. 13th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 52 comments — Leave a comment )

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